Springdale chief lauds officers for keeping community safe
Springdale police Chief George Polnar credits his officers and teamwork with keeping the borough safe.
“We have great officers,” Polnar said in an interview with the Tribune-Review. “Obviously, in any organization, you’re not going to please everybody. But I think, by and large, our officers do a great job. People credit me with that, and I say, ‘No, it’s a team effort.’ These guys, they know their job.”
Four full-time officers, including Polnar, and seven part-timers serve the roughly 1-square-mile community. The department is staffed 24/7.
It responds to 85 emergency calls a month. The majority are for alarms, assisting ambulances and other agencies.
Polnar hopes to add another full-time officer. He said a high police presence can help reduce violent crimes such as domestic incidents and robberies.
If citizens see a police car with its emergency lights flashing and an officer out enforcing the law, they’ll know the department is being proactive, Polnar said.
“(You) can’t be much more visible than your lights and siren on a police car. And if the public sees it, they say, ‘I’m going to pay attention,’ ” Polnar said. “I firmly believe that.”
Polnar has been Springdale’s top cop for roughly a year.
He mostly serves in an administrative role, but does fill shifts when needed.
“I’ve worked a number of shifts myself because there was nobody available,” Polnar said.
Working in Springdale has been different than working in Monroeville, where Polnar spent 13 years as police chief.
In Monroeville, Polnar oversaw a staff of 75, including police officers, dispatchers and civilian employees. Monroeville has its own dispatchers. Springdale works with the Allegheny County 911 dispatch center, and “they do a nice job,” Polnar said.
Also different is the amount of money available to each department, as well as the responsibilities delegated to Polnar.
During his last year as chief in Monroeville, the department’s annual budget exceeded $10 million. And while he was responsible for overseeing the department, Polnar said it pretty much ran itself.
In Springdale, which this year has a budget of roughly $644,000, Polnar is responsible for pretty much everything, including scheduling work on the police cars.
“I had somebody that took care of the vehicles. I’d come in in the morning, ‘Hey Chief, your car needs tires today.’ OK. It’s back after lunch with new tires on it,” Polnar said. “[Here], I’ve got to get the tires changed. Get the vehicles inspected. Make the oil changes.”
Working with part-timers is also new for Polnar. When he was in charge of Monroeville, all the officers were full time.
Polnar retired from police work in 2010, but came back in 2018 because he missed it so much. He enjoys working in Springdale.
“I missed the job. I missed the people,” Polnar said. “I like to interact with people. I like to talk to people and try to help solve their problems when I can.”
Madasyn Czebiniak is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Madasyn at 724-226-4702, [email protected] or via Twitter .